Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Neighbor of a Nightmare

In May of this year I got my first apartment.
First order of business was going out and adopting a dog from the local city pound. I got a 1 year old lab and named her Lily.

I moved into a cute, quiet first floor complex and was very pleased. April through July I did a whole bunch of traveling, so I wasn't home much, but had no problem with the place while I was there.

One day I was drinking coffee and sitting out on my on my patio with Lily, when an elderly lady approached and asked if she could pet my dog.

Soon we began talking. She lived in the apartment next to mine, and her door is the first thing I would see when I open my front door. She told me that she has an aggressive guard dog that she worries about attacking anyone who comes in to her apartment. She made mention of the "Beware of Dog" sign that I had up on my front door. I told her Lily was not aggressive at all, and that the sign was more for my peace of mind that anyone who may want to mess with me, might think twice if they see there's a dog inside.

The conversation ended and she walked away, and I thought, "What a sweet little lady."

A few days later I was leaving, and she stopped me in the walk way. She said she had a specialist doctor who was helping her manage her chronic pain. She said her SSI check was late, so she had no money to get gas to go to her doctor appointment. I gladly reached into my wallet and handed her $5.

The next morning I woke up and found a folded up note left at my door. It said she had reached her final straw and kicked her husband out and was seeing an attorney to file for divorce, but that she couldn't afford to keep living there with out her husband's pension money. She asked if she could come live with me.

I was headed out of town for two weeks, and I quickly brushed off the idea thinking that no matter how nice I am, there's no way I am letting a stranger live with me(aside from the fact that there was zero room for her.)

When I came home later that month, I saw her husband was back with her, and I was glad things had worked out for her.

The next time I saw her, she asked me where I went to church. She said she didn't always have a ride to her church and asked if she could carpool with me some time. The conversation was nice, and I told her my regular Sunday schedule, and said I'd be happy to bring her to my church or take her to her church since it was close to mine.

She asked me about where I worked, and I told her I work at a facility for traumatized and misbehaved youth. When I told her the name, she told me she knew it. She said that 10 years ago God healed her of schizophrenia, and before that she saw a psychiatrist at my company. She then went on a long and disturbing rant about how psychology is a tool of the devil to destroy families, and that all psychologists are demon possessed.

By the end of the conversation I was thinking the woman was not quite as sweet as my first impression of her.

Later that day I was giving some things to some friends of mine. They (a female couple with a son) came to my place to pick it up. She must have heard the noise, and she opened her door and stood there watching our commotion. She said hello to their son, then waved me closer and whispered in my ear, "Is that one of them lesbian couples?"

 I pretended I didn't hear her, "What was that? Sorry I didn't hear you. Oh hey let me help you lift that!" then went to help my friends load the stuff in their car.

Just as soon as they shut their car doors and began to drive away, she came out to the parking lot and screamed while shaking her fist, "Filthy spawn of satan! It's your kind that is destroying this world!"

I don't know if they heard her or not, but I was extremely embarrassed and insulted that she would be so hateful towards my friends. Any kind thoughts I had towards the woman went away in that moment.

It wasn't long after that, that the letters started coming.
First it was every other week or so between a letter, then once a week, then a few times a week.

At first they asked for money for this or that. The most she ever asked for was $800. Other times she asked for rides places. Other times she asked me to bring Lily for a playdate with her dog(the one she previously said was aggressive.)

I ignored them all because I was upset about what happened with my friends.
But after a while I decided I wasn't being very Christian, and I needed to try to be more helpful to her.
So the next few times she wrote me letters I went and knocked on her door and offered her advice on what to do, since I was just as broke as her and had no way to help her but knew organizations and government programs that could help.

Then I went out of town for a few days, and came home to several letters from her.

Over the next few days I got multiple letters from her a day. She would come knock on my door at all hours of the night asking to use my phone, or wanting to complain about something she saw on the news.
The letters started getting way weirder too. Asking me if I would go on a date with her 60 year old mental disabled son, asking me to come sleep on the floor by her bed to make sure she didn't stop breathing in the night, asking me to let my dog play with hers so her dog could learn to stop attacking other dogs, and asking me if I could get my pastor to come bless her home because the demons keep getting in even though her pastor had already blessed it. She thought her pastor's blessing didn't work because he had been divorced in the past.
With in a 3 week span I had piles of letters from her.

I  finally took to facebook for advice on what to do, and got a large response with everyone saying it needed to be reported somewhere.

The next day I awoke to this disturbing letter.

I went and knocked on her door.

She answered and her dog stuck its head out the door. She tried to push it back with her foot, and the dog viciously bit her leg.
She told me her husband had left her, and she felt a stroke was coming on.

I insisted on taking her to the hospital, or calling for help, but she adamantly refused, and asked me just to check on her now and then, and maybe bring her some food because she was going to run out of anything to eat in a few days.

That day, with deep hesitation, I called Adult Protective Services and told them everything that was happening.

A few days later an APS worker showed up looking for the woman, and I pointed them in the right direction. Later that day the paramedics showed up, and I saw the APS worker following the elderly lady as she was taken out of her apartment on a stretcher.
I felt then that I had done the right thing in calling APS.

I went out of town again for a week, and sure enough, when I returned she was back and there were more letters. That night she knocked on my door a few times per hour wanting to talk about random things. I stopped answering her knocks at 11pm, and she kept coming back and knocking until 3am.

The next day I went to my landlord and complained. I was fed up. She was harrassing me with piles of letters and knocking on my door all night, she had insulted my friends, and she refused any help I could offer her. I was losing my peace of mind over her.

When I finished telling the landlord all she had been doing, the landlord's jaw was dropped. She had never heard anything like it in her 23 years of managing apartments. She said she would have to get back to me on what she would do, because she needed to get advice from others higher up and more experienced than her.

The next day my landlord contacted me and said the woman legally had to be given a verbal warning to stop with the letters, and that if it didn't work she would be given written notice that if she continued it was grounds for eviction, and she would be evicted if there was a third infraction.

This is when things started getting ugly.

A day came where I was going out to my car to get something, the woman was standing out by her door and saw my dog bolted out the door. I tried to grab her collar, and yelled, "Lily no!" but she was hyper and raced out to run around the area. I chased after her and finally got her and dragged her back to the apartment.
The woman was still standing there when I came back, and she started screaming at me about how she was going to report me to the police for not following leash laws, and that my dog needs to be put down because she is going to hurt someone.
The next day this was on the door:

Then a few days later the police showed up at my door. They said they had received a noise complaint that my dog barks non stop all day and all through the night and that it is causing an elderly neighbor with insomnia to get sick, and that the elderly person has had to be hospitalized in the past just to get away from the barking.

I told them it was just an angry neighbor trying to get back at me for complaining to the landlord, and I told them the truth, that my dog rarely barks. Luckily for me, my upstairs neighbor was coming down the stairs just then and backed me up that he never hears my dog bark.

The police handed me a warning citation, saying that if another person complained about the barking within the next 90 days, then I would be fined $100.

Right near this time, for unrelated reasons, I had decided to move back into the ORU dorms. Soon I sent Lily to stay with a friend, and moved all my stuff out of the apartment.

I had one last night in the apartment. I had, had a very difficult day at work and came by the apartment just to do final cleaning after work. It was close to 1am, when there was a knock on the door.

I looked out my peephole and it was her again.

I let out an annoyed sigh, then decided I could deal with her this one last night. As soon as the door opened, her finger was pointed right in my face, yelling at me. She said her grandson had been sent to my work, and how dare I do this and that to her precious grandbaby.

I was too tired and already frustrated by my bad day, so I couldn't put on my "Sweet Anna" face that night.

I responded in the same tone she was using and said, "I don't really care!" and shut the door in her face.

And thus ended the saga of the crazy neighbor.

How about you? Have a crazy neighbor story?

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